It is with heartfelt sorrow that we announce that Original US Army Parachute Team member Roy Dophele Martin, the USAPT’s very first Executive Officer (1960-62), and its second commanding officer (1962-65) lost his horrific battle with cancer on Monday, July 2, 2012 at the Veterans Administration Nursing Home in Collins, Ms.
Roy was a giant of a man, not just in stature, but in the legend he leaves behind for his family, former team mates and current Knights,’ which he fought to blaze a trail for today. Roy’s License number is D-41, he was a sky diving instructor and made 1,849 free fall parachute jumps, his highest jump was 30,000 Feet, and he made over 200 static line jumps during his parachuting career.
Roy’s Military legacy speaks for itself as he participated in Towers Moon, an early test of the tactical use of free fall parachuting. He also was the Officer in Charge and Jumpmaster of the original HALO Test project and was a STRAC Team member and a former Company Commander of B Company 1/8th Cavalry (1965-66.)
These are a few of Roy’s accomplishment during his career with the team from his personal bio. “The team members selected the team name “Golden Knights.” Danny Byard and Dick Fortenberry came up with the name then the team voted for it. I signed off on the name. Team expanded to 5 Officers, 1 Warrant and 40 Enlisted with rank increases to: 3 E-7′s, 6 E-6′s & 20 E-5′s. The Team aircraft was approved of with aviation section. Led the First U.S. Army C.I.S.M Team. The Competition Team placed 2nd overall in Pau France. The Team earned a Superior I.G. inspection rating. Served as the Team leader: U.S. Team 1963, Adriatic Cup Meet placing 2nd overall.P.CA. Served as the Board of director 1962-65.Team was accident free from 1962-65. The Team was re-organized to: Two Demonstration, One Competition and One R&D team. I Departed Team to attend Advance Infantry Officers Course and Assignment to Vietnam.”
George Torrealba said, “He was an outstanding Soldier, a combat leader that carried a rifle and bullets downrange as well as having a storybook parachuting career. While Commander, he probably sent more Team members to OCS and Flight School than any other Commander. His dedication to the Team and its members never ceased and he never stopped trying to see they received the accolades they earned.”
Casually talking to Roy you could see that he was a gentle soul working with Way Out Farms as a tree farmer, that he loved and had numerous animals, and that he had been a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for over twelve years. He owned many titles earning a BA degree at the University of Nebraska at Omaha; MS University of Southern MS., Elder Ellisville Presbyterian Church ,President Military Officers Association Pine Belt Chapter, President Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee, Past President Jumping Mustangs Association, Life Member: DAV, VFW, PH, MOA and active member of Ellisville Lions Club.
Roy always attended and thoroughly enjoyed the Team reunions and was sure to stop in at the headquarters facility any time he was in the Fort Bragg area to tell stories and reminisce about the “days of ole.”
Roy was married to the love of his life, Martha Jo Sellers Martin that was always at his side supporting him for over 59 years and had three children he cherished, Rickey, Randy and Michelle and a proud grandparent of five granddaughters: Connie, Kayla, Lauren, Kelsey and Madison.
Funeral services Roy Dophele Martin, 81 of Ellisville, MS will be held at 10:30 a.m., on Friday, July 6, 2012 at Ellisville Funeral Home in Ellisville, MS with Rev.Benjamin P. Glaser officiating. Burial will be in Gandy Cemetery.
Roy you will be greatly missed and we know that you greeted with open arms by many of your old team mates and by Dan Williams who just passed with cancer on 24 June, 2012.
“Blue Skies, Roy We love you!”